Google chairman and former CEO Eric Schmidt is on Capitol Hill testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on antitrust issues, competition policy and consumer rights. Just a quick note here. When asked whether Google can use Android to disadvantage competitors by tying that operating system to Google services, Schmidt responded, per transcript over at the Wall Street Journal blogs.

It’s possible to use Google search with Android but also possible to expressly not use Google search.

Also, Google has just been accused of “having monopoly power in Android”.

While some would be quick to accuse Schmidt of bending truth, there are in fact Android phones out there which use search engines other than Google. For example, Verizon’s Fascinate and Continuum smartphones are all Binged out and AT&T has some Android phones with Yahoo! search, like the Backflip.

In preparation for today’s hearing, the company this morning blogged that its users in both Europe and the U.S. are getting the same level of service and privacy protection:

Our approach, just like over 2,500 other US companies that offer services in Europe, is guided by the US – EU Safe Harbor Agreement, which is designed to ensure that transatlantic data transfers remain protected according to seven core EU-like privacy principles. In practice, for Google, Safe Harbor means our users in both Europe and the US can be sure they’re getting not just the same level of service, but also the same level of privacy protection.

And yesterday, Google published a survival guide of sorts to today’s hearing, tackling popular notions such as Google is favoring its own content or Google’s search ranking changes hurt a certain website or caused them to lose traffic. Concerning Google search, the company wrote:

Google makes more than 500 changes to our search algorithms every year, and each change is designed to improve the quality of our search results for consumers. Consumers come to search engines to help them sift through all the information on the web, and not every site can appear at the top of the results.

By the way, the Senate is live streaming the event so why not tune in?

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